Oxford MP’s criticised over expenses

first_imgThe Telegraph has reported that Adam Smith, Labour MP for Oxford East, used his expenses account to makeover his house.Mr Smith defended his spending, saying, “My mortgage interest costs are much less than the mortgage or rent for many other MPs, but I have had to spend significant amounts on repairs.”One of his claims from February 2006 includes the cost of a new dishwasher, oven, fridge, microwave, gas hob, and a 50p carrier bag from Ikea.Oxford West’s Dr Evan Harris MP has published his expenses record on his website. “I consider this job to be a privilege and not an exercise in income generation,” he said.last_img

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Conservation-Use Tables

first_imgFarmers, foresters, county government officials and tree harvesters involved with theConservation-Use Land Valuation Program should keep an eye on the calendar.The 1996 conservation-use (current-use) valuation tables for land have been completedby the Georgia Department of Revenue and mailed to county tax assessors to becomeeffective Jan. 29.The county tax assessor must have sign-ups before the property tax return filingdeadline (March 1 or April 1, depending on the county).Each year the DOR revises its tables of values for qualifying conservation-useproperty, following guidelines detailed by House Bill 283 (1992-style) and H.B. 66(1993-style).Details of the programs are available in a University of Georgia Extension Servicepublication entitled “Tax Incentives for the Georgia Landowner.” The countyExtension office has Bulletin 1089 for $1 per copy.The publication discusses the ’91 timber tax law, the ad valorem tax issues of the newconservation-use valuation program, the one-time county ad valorem tax on timber atharvest or sale for harvest, and the issues of fair market value and the agriculturalpreferential program.Covenants are between qualified landowners and county governments. The purpose of thecovenants is to have qualified agricultural and forest lands in Georgia valued for countyad valorem taxes based on current conservation use.The fair market value is the approach normally used.”The benefit of conservation-use valuation to the Georgia public is that land ispreserved in farms and forests,” says Coleman Dangerfield, an Extension Serviceagricultural economist.”The result is increased open and green areas for all to enjoy,” Dangerfieldsays. “In return for a covenant with the county, the landowner agrees to maintain theland in its agricultural or forest use for 10 years.”For qualified landowners, the program offers land value that reflects farm and forestuses, Dangerfield says. Current-use valuation may result in a lower county ad valoremproperty tax bill.The county Extension office has two maps and tables available in the January”Forest Resource Notes” newsletter that give the conservation-use land values.The county tax assessor also has maps, tables, program details and sign-up procedures.One map shows the nine Conservation-Use Valuation Areas by county with a tablecontaining values to be used for all 1993-style covenants. The second map shows the 28CUVAs by county with a table containing values to be used for the 13,376 1992-stylecovenants.Tables show the dollars-per-acre values for class 1-9 land, with 1 being mostproductive and 9 being least productive land.In 1990, the Georgia General Assembly passed House Resolution 836. The resolutionproposed a constitutional amendment to allow, among other things, the revision of taxationof agricultural and forest land.Following approval of Constitutional Amendment No. 3, H.B. 283 became law in 1991. H.B.283 provided the means for qualifying and valuing agricultural, forested andenvironmentally sensitive land (conservation-use property) under a current-use concept forthe 1992 tax year.In 1993, H.B. 66, a technical corrections and clarification bill, was signed by theGovernor. H.B. 66 allowed for improved means to qualify and value conservation-useproperty for the 1993 tax year and beyond.last_img read more

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President seeks more food safety funding for FDA

first_img FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach told reporters that the extra funding would allow the agency to hire 490 more people than it had originally planned, which represents a 15% increase that will allow the agency to “rebuild the workforce and intellectual capital.” Apr 1 CIDRAP News story “FDA seeks comments on food safety plan” “Combined with crucial legislative proposals, this increase will allow the FDA to continue to transform its regulatory strategies to meet the challenges of the evolving global marketplace,” Leavitt said in a press release yesterday from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). “These are opportunities for us to take our science to the level that is needed to address the kind of outbreaks that we see today, even with regards to the Salmonella outbreak in tomatoes,” he said. Since the release of the plan, the FDA has held several stakeholder meetings to solicit feedback on the plan, and on Apr 1 announced that it was seeking public comment on the plan through Jul 30. Jun 9 HHS press release He said the extra funding would, for example, help establish import safety offices in China, India, and Central America, permit more risk-based inspections, improve trace-back investigations, and expand lab capacity. Jun 10, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – US Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt announced yesterday that the Bush administration has boosted its fiscal year 2009 budget request by $275 million to increase funds for new food and medical product safety initiatives at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In an evening conference call with the media, Leavitt said the proposal would raise the total proposed increase in the FDA’s’ 2009 budget request to $404.7 million, a 17.8% increase from 2008. He said the extra funding would be offset by reductions in other federal discretionary funding. In November, in the wake of several high-profile foodborne illness outbreaks and problems with imported products, HHS proposed a wide-ranging food safety plan containing 14 broad recommendations and 50 action steps to address the concerns. Some would require new authorities from Congress, such as the power to mandate food recalls when companies don’t initiate them voluntarily. “These changes require new resources,” Leavitt told reporters. “For the health of the American people, we need Congress to act on these commonsense proposals.” Apr 30 CIDRAP News story “Health group urges overhaul of US food safety program” He said it’s still not clear what specific amount would go toward implementing each specific part of the FDA’s proposed food protection plan. Congress will be able to react more appropriately when it sees links between the plan and the needed funding, Levi said. See also: Jeff Levi, executive director of TFAH, praised the budget amendment to increase funds for the FDA. “It’s always great when this administration asks for more money for public health,” he told CIDRAP News. Of the extra $275 million requested, about $125 million is for the FDA’s food protection plan, $100 million is for improving drug, device, and biologics safety, and $50 million would go toward modernizing the FDA’s scientific capabilities and workforce, according to the HHS press release. In late April, Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group based in Washington, DC, issued a report that detailed a long list of problems at the FDA, including severe underfunding. The report recommended that Congress double FDA funding over the next 5 years.last_img read more

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Red Force wary of Jaguars’ spin for NAGICO Super50 semi-final

first_imgPORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):Defending champions Trinidad and Tobago Red Force are wary of a dangerous spin attack when they meet Guyana Jaguars in the first semi-final of the NAGICO Super50 Tournament at the Queen’s Park Oval here today, starting at 12:30 p.m. (Jamaica time).Captain Jason Mohammed has admitted that his batsmen will have to step up if they are to defeat the persistent Jaguars and remain on course to retain their title.”I think the batting department is going to be the most difficult part of it. We see that the pitch is spinning a lot, and they have some quality spinners, but in saying that we have some quality batters in our team as well,” said Mohammed.”So I think we have the ammunition to counteract the Guyana bowlers, and hopefully we will come out on top tomorrow in terms of the batting, and the bowling will take care of itself.”In the preliminary phase of the tournament, Guyana posted four wins and suffered two defeats, while Trinidad and Tobago registered four wins and one loss.”It’s going to be a tough game; at the end of the day, we have to enjoy it as cricketers. This is the moment we cherish, when we beat the best team and we come up good against the best team and the best bowlers.”The match will be a repeat of last year’s grand final when the Red Force – inspired by a hundred from current captain Jason Mohammed and spell-binding bowling from champion spinner Sunil Narine – completed a comprehensive 135-run victory to take the title.”I don’t think the guys will be thinking a lot about it (revenge),” declared Leon Johnson, the captain of the Guyana Jaguars.”I think it will be a negative … us losing last year in the finals to Red Force … but we will probably have it a little bit in the back of our minds.”We just have to go out and play the game hard,” he said. “They will have a lot of crowd support obviously, and we normally get good support here in Trinidad as well, so we are looking forward to a good game.”last_img read more

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Behavioral Programs Help Reduce Energy Use

first_imgA recent report on the experience of four Minnesota electric co-ops suggests that utilities equipping their customers with smart meters plus software allowing them to gather detailed information about their energy use can see a reduction in the demand for electricity.According to a report in Midwest Energy News, four rural electric co-ops in Minnesota saw reductions in demand of between 1.8% and 2.8% over a period of one to three years when customers had access to data via a program called MyMeter.Separately, programs in Massachusetts, detailed in a June 2013 report, also showed energy savings when customers were alerted to how much electricity they use.Susan Mazur-Stommen, director of behavior and human dimensions research for the American Council for an Energy-Efficienct Economy, said the findings in Minnesota, verified by a third-party, were significant because they add to the scant information currently available on how well behavioral programs actually work.“The more data we have at a large scale, the more interested utilities are in using [behavioral strategies],” she told Midwest Energy News.Mazur-Stommen was the co-author of an ACEEE report on utility-run behavior programs. In all, the authors found 281 behavior-based programs, but said many of them are “still in the pilot stage.” MyMeter available in 15 statesJan Cook, vice president for client engagement with MyMeter, told GBA that the software is currently available in 15 states as well as several foreign countries. In all, 30 utilities have signed up, ranging from very small ones with as few as 1,400 customers to some of the biggest in the country. (Customers participated through their utility, not by signing up individually.)The software, which is embedded in a utility’s website, lets customers check on their energy use via a smartphone app or website. The software also allows consumers to get an alert when they’re using more electricity than expected, and permits homeowners to compare their energy use with those in similar houses, MyMeter says.More than half the states in the country now have some form of “rate decoupling” that separates utility earnings from the sale of electricity, Cook said, and utilities may be able to earn reimbursements by proving they are lowering the demand for electricity.In Minnesota’s case, the savings were verified by an independent evaluation firm, Illume Advising, and subsequently accepted by the Minnesota Department of Commerce so they could be counted toward state-mandated efficiency goals, Midwest Energy News said.Cook said other utilities using MyMeter software also are collecting data about reductions in demand, but because they need at least a couple of years worth of information for documentation Minnesota is the only state so far with results that can be published. She expected additional reports in another six months. More engaged customers save more electricityCustomers who showed more interest in logging in to the MyMeter website saved more energy than those who showed only marginal interest, Midwest Energy News said.Users who got alerts but didn’t log onto the site to get details reduced consumption by about 2.25%, but those who were “actively engaged” with the website for at least six months showed reductions of more than 4%, the report said.For customers who used the system for one or two years, energy savings were 2.27% among those who used it for three years, savings dropped to 1.88%.last_img read more

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De Jesus says DLSU setter Cobb still lacks maturity

first_imgTyphoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Just as Michelle Cobb was making a name for herself as a capable playmaker for De La Salle, she went on a slump that not only affected her, but her whole team as well.ADVERTISEMENT Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus LATEST STORIES John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding First it was Jasmine Nabor’s dominance in National University’s five-set win over La Salle wherein the Lady Bulldog tallied 53 excellent sets to Cobb’s 27.And Cobb was once again in the middle of La Salle head coach Ramil De Jesus’ post-game talk wherein the 10-time champion mentor said his setter needs to play better.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutLa Salle lost in four sets to Adamson University, 25-18, 15-25, 25-19, 25-22, in a match where Lady Falcon setter Fhen Emnas, who dished out 43 excellent sets, outplayed Cobb.“Our setter needs to experience this kind of a big game so she can overcome the pressure that is brought upon her shoulders,” said De Jesus in Filipino Saturday at Filoil Flying V Centre. Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving Read Next Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon Citycenter_img AFP official booed out of forum Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC “This is for her own good and for the improvement of the whole team as well. She has to see what adjustments she needs to make and how she can handle these types of situations.”Cobb’s lackluster play has coincided with La Salle’s subpar performance and the Lady Spikers have slipped to 4-2 and their loss was their first at the hands of Lady Falcons since dropping a 23-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-16 decision in Season 70.The sophomore setter has proven herself as La Salle’s main distributor most notably in the Lady Spikers’ 25-21, 25-22, 26-24 win over University of the Philippines.Cobb finished with 10 points and 32 excellent sets for La Salle against the Lady Maroons that saw the 19-year-old score three straight aces to cap off the victory.“I think Cobb’s maturity as a setter is still lacking because there were times where her decision-making wasn’t apt to what was happening on the floor,” said De Jesus. “She’ll eventually get this experience along the way.”ADVERTISEMENT LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico View comments MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Roque says Vicente left UE for ‘personal reasons’last_img read more

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Oral traditions of cricket should be preserved, says Hemant Kenkre

first_imgHemant KenkreCricket stories are always fascinating. And when Rahul Dravid speaks about the oral traditions of cricket, the audience is spellbound. While delivering the annual Dilip Sardesai Memorial Lecture in Mumbai, the stalwart recounted how chats with his childhood heroes Gundappa Viswanath and Syed Kirmani left a big impact while he was finding his feet in Karnataka cricket.Travelling by long-distance trains to play domestic cricket was the norm when the Dravid-Tendulkar generation was growing up. Cricketing legends from across the country spent long hours shuttling between cities, sometimes on unreserved tickets, to play the Ranji Trophy. The only form of entertainment in those pre-mobile, pre-social media days was either a game of cards or chats with teammates.Former Bombay skipper Milind Rege recounts how he and Sunil Gavaskar were asked to fetch ‘mixers’ by a senior Bombay player to add ‘flavour’ to his daily evening tipple.Rahul DravidDravid recalled how he had thought that Michael Holding was almost unplayable until he heard his team manager Viswanath recount stories about his experiences while playing against the West Indies.Anecdotes and chats, such as these, can be a form of motivation for young sportspersons provided they are willing to soak it up and learn from the experiences of the older lot.Mumbai has an informal, but robust, system where the younger lot can fraternise with cricket’s senior citizens. The exploits of cricketers from all states are recounted, not from a nostalgic perspective but to remind the current lot of the legacy they have inherited.advertisementI have yet to meet a former India cricketer who is unwilling to share his skill, experience and vast knowledge acquired from spending hours toiling on sun-baked grounds.The reason the older lot keep away is that they feel that they may not be given the respect they deserve.Story-telling is an art and cricketers like Dravid have prospered thanks to the stories they have heard from legends.(The writer is a former Cricket Club of India captain and Bombay University cricketer)last_img read more

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13 days agoMan Utd insist Pogba can make Liverpool clash

first_imgMan Utd insist Pogba can make Liverpool clashby Paul Vegas13 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United aren’t panicking over Paul Pogba’s toe injury.The Sun says he is winning his race to be fit for Manchester United’s huge clash with Liverpool after the international break.The French World Cup winner has played in just two of United’s last seven games.Reports in France have suggested Pogba also has a cracked toe picked up in the Carabao Cup game against Rochdale although manager Solskjaer made no mention of that when discussing his injury.United will desperately need him for the Old Trafford date with Premier League leaders Liverpool a week on Sunday. About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img

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11 days agoReal Madrid veteran Luka Modric eases injury fears

first_imgAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Real Madrid veteran Luka Modric eases injury fearsby Carlos Volcano11 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Madrid veteran Luka Modric has played down an injury suffered in action for Croatia last night.He left the Wales clash injured with two minutes remaining. Modric collided with Harry Wilson while attempting to halt a counter-attack by the hosts.The Madrid midfielder was able to get back onto his feet and after receiving treatment from Croatia’s medical team, asked to be taken off. He limped off the field without hardly being able to walk on his right leg.But he has since stated this morning: “I have a bruise, which hurts a little and is swelling. It’s big, but I think it’s not serious and I’ll be fine in a few days.”It is an injury that Dr. Jankovic (the Croatian national doctor) said was unpleasant, but should not be long. He immediately communicated it to the doctors of Real Madrid.” last_img read more

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